All a Twitter
It was 10 minutes past the time I was to meet someone in the lobby of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel during the Nonprofit Technology Conference last month. I wandered through the atrium and took a seat alongside Rick Christ, president of NPAdvisors.com, and explained to him what was going on.
“Twitter her,” Rick said. “Twitter her, and ask her what’s up.” I gave him the “blinkies” look — perfected during 22 years of parenting — that says, “What you have just said to me is so ridiculously out of the question that it is nearly incomprehensible.”
To his credit, he held a straight face for a full 10 seconds before laughing out loud (excuse me, before LOL) because he knows as much about Twitter as I do — the name, the fact that it has something to do with social networking and that everybody, apparently, is using it.
Later, feeling like I was 127 years old, I logged on to www.twitter.com, created an account, got immediately confused and clicked out, retreating to the juvenile comfort of MySpace and the somewhat more grown-up safety of LinkedIn. I am, you might say, a Twitter quitter.
Twitter was all the rage at NTEN, which makes sense since it’s the Nonprofit Technology Network’s conference. But many of the fundraisers who sat alongside me amid the crowds of highly caffeinated technogeeks shared my Twitter jitters, which made me even more acutely aware of the fact that there’s a whole lot the fundraising sector needs to learn about. Even if your IT team is in the know, that knowledge doesn’t always filter down. That not only can cause a disconnect between staff segments, but also leave you ignorant of some cool, new, potential fundraising venues.
It’s OK (well, almost) for me to be a technophobe; the only thing I risk losing is the respect of my more techie friends and the occasional “SaraMoonShine is baking cookies!” mood update; but for fundraisers, the stakes are higher. Hover outside the loop of new technologies, and you could be missing out on important opportunities to trumpet and fund your mission. It can be daunting, true — but as you sign up to exchange “tweets” with your newfound friends on Twitter, no one is suggesting that you abandon direct mail, telefundraising and the other media with which you’re comfy. With a little juggling, a little foresight, a little luck and a little guidance, you can do it all. And you can realize a lot of success. That prospect, of course, can set any fundraiser’s heart atwitter.